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Maserati driver in Las Vegas Strip shooting worked as a pimp

Kenneth Cherry Sr. set aside his grief long enough to hold a Saturday news conference after the shooting death of his son, Kenny Cherry Jr., two days earlier on Las Vegas Boulevard.

After suffering a gunshot wound to the chest early Thursday, a dying Cherry Jr. drove his leased Maserati into a Desert Cab, killing driver Michael Boldon and passenger Sandra Sutton-Wasmund of Seattle.

Cherry Sr. called his son an aspiring rapper with the moniker “Kenny Clutch” a good kid who was a victim of senseless violence.

But dad didn’t tell the reporters present what the 27-year-old did to pay the condo rent and the lease on that Maserati. If we presume for the sake of discussion Kenneth Sr. didn’t know his son was a pimp, the father needn’t have looked far for confirmation.

He could have asked one of his son’s girlfriends, Asmayit “May” Hagos. She lived with Cherry Jr., and her arrest record indicates she worked for him.

Hagos wasn’t exactly in hiding. She also attended that news conference.

She was cited by a Metro traffic officer while driving a vehicle registered to Cherry Jr., but it’s when Hagos isn’t driving that she gets in the most trouble.

In 2011, she was arrested on charges of soliciting prostitution, criminal conspiracy and grand larceny-trick roll. In keeping with the local justice system’s long history of taking it easy on prostitutes and positively coddling pimps, the charges against her were negotiated and reduced.

A check of the arrest record of a former girlfriend of Cherry shows the same pattern of prostitution behavior: arrest, negotiation, fine and back to work.

Hagos hasn’t been off local law enforcement’s radar. Far from it.

On Feb. 20, District Judge Jennifer Togliatti signed a bench warrant for her arrest for violating the terms of her probation in the 2011 case. That bench warrant was signed just a day before Hagos’ boyfriend died on the street.

Surely Hagos will want to fill in the grieving father on the sordid details. Maybe she can also tell him whether Kenny Clutch had had a falling out with his former late-night running mate, Ammar “Ash” Harris. Authorities on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Harris in connection with the shooting. They are seeking the public’s help in locating the suspect, who police say shot Cherry in the chest.

Harris was last seen driving a black Range Rover, which police later recovered. He wasn’t alone in the Range Rover, sources confirm.

Because Cherry’s father is surely interested in justice being done, perhaps he will implore family lawyer Bob Beckett to help make available witnesses that might assist the police in their homicide investigation. My attempt to reach Beckett, the former Nye County district a ttorney, was unsuccessful.

While the grieving father made much of his deceased son’s gentle nature, the facts say otherwise. Dad’s protestations aside, in 2007 Cherry Jr. was convicted of a gun charge in California. According to court documents, he severely beat a former girlfriend who also was the mother of one of his children.

After she tired of being used as a prostitute and watching every dollar she earned go into his pocket, the fights and beatings escalated.

On Sept. 1, 2011, at the apartment they shared, she would write in an affidavit, “He chased me down the hall. I tried to lock myself in the bathroom. He broke the door and started hitting me, over and over again. I tried to protect myself in the corner of the shower. He hit me so many times I was seeing stars. I finally managed to run out into the hallway and he came after me, hitting me until I collapsed on the floor where he proceeded to kick me twice, once in my head and once in my thigh. He then threw me out into the main hallway and locked me out of the apartment until he left.”

Sounds like the good kid was having a bad day, but that’s the way it is with pimps.

John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Email him at Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295. He blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/Smith.

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